Let’s Make a Deal: Unsubscribing from Email Clutter

In my single, no-one-to-worry-about-but-me days, I could shop like a pro. Matter of fact, I like to think I raised it to an art form. I had a terrific paycheck and, oh baby, could I spend it! I was also practical and always looked for the best deal.

Fast forward a few years, and as I prepped for baby-to-be, I was a deal hound, stocking up on diapers and ALL THE THINGS before baby arrived. Seriously, I think hormones turned me into a mini-hoarder versus simply a nester. I didn’t want to have to worry about anything, so I stocked up on diapers, wipes, toilet paper, and cat litter. No matter what else might happen after the baby arrived, everyone in our house was going to be able to go to the bathroom for months without me leaving the house. And that was before the gift from heaven that is Amazon could deliver something to your door in under an hour.

As with everything in our lives these days, online rules. And it certainly rules when it comes to shopping. You can find just about everything you need. It’s oh-so-easy to browse, click, and wait for the box to arrive. And deal sites, deal alerts, and deal emails are everywhere. Smart people know we really enjoy shopping. In our pajamas. And saving money while we do it.

I never noticed how many deal and/or shopping email lists I was on until after the holidays. Regular email traffic slowed as people stumbled into the new year, but my inbox kept filling up. I sat at my computer one morning, staring at a page full of messages. Not a single one of them was from a real, live human person who actually knows me. But the messages were all yelling me:

“It’s here + it’s on: Mega Sale Time”

“Don’t Miss Out! 100s of New Year Deals”

“Last week! Up to 40% off!”

“24 hours only!”

“Need right now!”

“Extra important! Up to 60% off because YOU deserve a treat!” 

See that last one? “Out. Of. Control.” describes my inbox.

That last one even included a smiley face in the subject line. (Aww!) Cozy winter sale, darling baseball tees. Personalized Valentine’s mailboxes. (Everyone needs one of those!) And, oh the toys…Lego deals, discounts on all of the things that didn’t sell before the holidays, and more.

There was also something about an inverted umbrella. I’m not even sure that an inverted umbrella works/serves a purpose, but I found myself clicking on the link just because.

Inspirational cuff button-down shirts. OK, I admit, I had to stop and re-read that one about three times to fully comprehend what it might be. Like everyone else these days, I often skim things and then wonder if it said what I really think it said. Sometimes I have the time to go back and reread it; other days, I’m lucky that I’m reading at all.

“8 pages of metallic tattoos for only $10!”

Say what?!

My email was screaming at me about things I don’t need or want. “CLICK NOW. You *must* buy. What do you mean you don’t need four pounds of nuts, snow boots, or (fill in the blank)? It’s a deal. Everyone needs a deal. BUY IT NOW!!”

Latest and greatest??? Yes, please!

No, no, no!

First, it stresses me to see what seems like a million emails in my inbox. Emails sent at 3:00, 4:00, 5:00 A.M. Really?? That’s not how I want to start my day. They think that the first thing I’m going to do is buy something? Well, maybe…

No, no, no!

Then the time it takes to go through all of those emails. Who has the time for that? And yet I feel guilty if I just delete them. Shouldn’t I at least look?!

No, no, no!

These are not people talking to me. These are automated emails yelling at me: “Isn’t this the cutest (fill in the blank)??”

No, no, no!

But, wait. Are the metallic tattoos Star Wars?? They could be perfect for…

No, no, no!

As moms, we worry about being enough. Maybe we should worry about having enough—or too much. Too much of a good thing—no matter how cute, trendy, fun, or a total deal—takes a toll. Then we purge. We see the piles of new things from Christmas and clean out the bins/closets/shelves. Or we simply shove the new stuff in and try not to think about what’s going to happen when the closet door gives way.


I’m starting with my inbox, cleaning it out and unsubscribing as I go. I’m even looking into a free service that will do it for me, because when I try to walk away, they want to pull me back in:

“Are you sure you want to unsubscribe? We hate to see you go!”

Sorry, but I’m breaking up with you, automated email yeller/seller/nagger. My head knows I’m going to miss a deal. And I may miss out on a trend, but really, I’m not trendy anyway, and clicking on the email to buy the shoes/scarf/jacket/purse isn’t going to change that. And my kid really doesn’t need metallic tattoos, even if they are Star Wars. And not having an email inbox screaming at me feels oh-so-good.

So, deal me out. But if you see something I should check out, could you send me an email? 

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